Last February, news broke that Snohomish County authorities asked an outside police agency to launch an investigation into claims that Deputy Executive Mark Ericks “pressured staff to approve development permits.” Ericks had originally come under unwanted scrutiny for making death threats to three county councilmembers in November 2014. That initial inquiry included a recommendation to follow up on information from a “credible source” claiming the deputy executive had meddled in land-use decisions.
Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe said in a prepared statement, “It was instantly apparent to me that these new allegations, if true, were potentially criminal conduct that needed further investigation by a competent law enforcement agency… I immediately arranged for that to take place, and an investigation commenced at that time and is ongoing.”
Ericks denied having any idea what the investigation was about and, ultimately, detectives found no evidence that he illegally pressured staff.
Well, despite the finding, it appears that Snohomish County Executive John Lovick has had enough of the negative attention Ericks has brought to his tumultuous and scandal-ridden administration – following on the heels of the scandal-ridden administration of Democrat Aaron Reardon. After all, Lovick faces a competitive re-election this fall against Dave Somers, a fellow Democrat and chairman of the County Council. So, this week, Lovick announced the he had accepted Ericks’ resignation. Lenda Crawford, the next-highest-ranking official in Lovick’s administration, will replace Ericks.
Of course, Lovick couldn’t resist taking a swipe at the county council after making his announcement. Lovick said, “Together with Lenda we will work on our 2016 proposed budget, which will include restoring reserves depleted by the County Council and addressing wage growth for our many dedicated and talented employees.”
Here’s hoping—for the sake of Snohomish County—Crawford does not follow Ericks’ lead and threaten to “‘shoot’ or ‘kill’ council members because of their political decisions.”